I feel like my unending frustration with Angel has been turning me into a very pessimistic fan. So, in order to make myself feel a bit more positive (I need all the help I can get after 3-0 in Portland) I decided to make this fanpost because as down as I am on Angel, I do love me some Victor Gomez Pereira Junior (Juninho).
First, a little about the man.
Juninho, born January 5th, 1989, grew up in Sao Paolo, Brazil. He played a sport many Brazilians are unfamiliar with, soccer. Well, okay maybe SOME Brazilians know about it, but I'm pretty sure not many. (I'll have to check on that and get back to you). Juninho played for the Sao Paolo youth squad and helped them win the U-17 Paulista Championship in 2006. He made one appearance for the Sao Paolo Senior squad (2007) before being loaned out to our Los Angeles Galaxy in 2010 along with fellow Brazilians, Leonardo (not to be confused with the ninja turtle), and Alex Kazumba.
Though it took Juninho a few games to adjust to the MLS style of play, I think we all knew we had something special on the fourth of July, 2010 when he scored an amazing goal from outside the box. Of course, it was voted MLS goal of the week. (I mean just look at it; it is a thing of beauty. It's at about 0:46)
Goal of the Week Nominees: Week 14 (via mls)
Juninho has since become a staple of the LA Galaxy midfield, and one of my favorite members of my favorite MLS team. In 2011, Juninho was voted by MLS players to be part of the MLS All-Star team though he didn't get to play in the game. (Actually it might've saved him some heartache: 4-0 ?? Ouch.)
So, with further ado, my top 5 things I love about Juninho:
5. His shot.
If you really need me to explain this one to you, watch the video I embedded again. (In fact, you should just watch it again anyway- it's freakin' awesome.)
Juninho is solid all- around. His first touch is rarely a bad one. He controls the ball at his feet well and he is VERY rarely dispossessed. (I'm sure it has happened, but to be honest, I can't remember one time somebody actually stole the ball from him). He'll even throw in a little Brazilian flair every now and then which we all love to watch. When his passes are intercepted it is more often a case of miscommunication than an errant kick. And did I mention his shot? Oh yeah, that's right, it's number 5.
Juninho is fun to watch. He often does things that are unexpected. This does lead to some giveaways as I mentioned above when even his teammates aren't expecting it, but it makes him a very interesting player when he gets on the ball. More importantly, it keeps other teams guessing.
2. He's smart.
Juninho doesn't do stupid things. Sometimes things don't work out the way he wants, but there are never any boneheaded plays (like we may see from a certain Colombian). He is somebody I want to get the ball. He is very good at keeping possession. He makes smart, high percentage passes and when the opposing defense is dumb enough to give him space he will shoot that thing. (Did I mention he has a good shot?) Yet, he rarely will take that shot when he is covered. A shot by Juninho is rarely blocked. Deflected maybe, but blocked? Rarely.
1. His personality.
This is my favorite thing about Juninho. It is hard to describe, and impossible to quantify, but he simply has a great attitude and is a very likeable guy. (Now before I get into this, please keep in mind I haven't met Juninho, and my impression of him is based entirely on what I have seen of him on the pitch and on TV) He works hard. He takes the game seriously. He is not afraid of hard tackles, and goes 100% for those 50/50 balls. Sure, he fakes injuries a little more than I would like, but that can be said about EVERY footballer. (Unfortunately FIFA has created a system where players are rewarded for faking an injury, thanks to the worst officiating in ANY professional sport. But, that's a discussion for another fanpost) The thing that stands out to me the most is his team-based perspective. It is very apparent when a goal is scored. Next time the Galaxy score a goal (It will most likely happen shortly following the time when Angel is subbed out) look at Juninho. He is the happiest guy on the pitch! He is more happy for the goal scorer, than the goal scorer! This is what I love the most about him. You can tell he really cares for his teammates and he really wants them to do well. It is apparent in how ecstatic he gets when his teammates have success.
So, to sum up, Juninho is the man.
If you are reading this Juninho, thanks for all you hard work. Thanks for being a great teammate. Thanks for bringing your talent to Los Angeles, you have made many Galaxy fans very happy. Keep up the good work, and good luck!
If y'all want to keep this going, please feel free to post reasons why you love Juninho, or stories about him, or whatever you'd like in the comments. I'd love to read them, so we can revel in the undeniable awesomeness that is our own #19.